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The Best Places in San Francisco for Starting an Airbnb

The Best Places in San Francisco for Starting an Airbnb

By California.com
September 15, 2020

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

The vibrant districts and unique architectural styles of San Francisco make it among the best cities for hosting an Airbnb. So, if you're an S.F. local blessed with the divinity of living in one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods, you may be considering renting out your home the next time you're away.

Vacation rentals in San Francisco are popular among tourists and are a great alternative to hotels, providing easy access to the region's top attractions and unique amenities. As long as you make your California homestay inviting, you can attract many guests and even become a superhost. 

The Best Locales for Vacation Rentals in San Francisco

Although San Francisco boasts several gorgeous neighborhoods, some are more ideal for visitors looking to be near popular destinations and cultural attractions. Here are the top seven neighborhoods with the best rental potential in S.F. 

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1. The Castro District

Take a walk through the vibrant Castro district and snap a photo of the famed rainbow crosswalk intersection.

Considered a top choice for Airbnb hosts, the Castro District is one of the safest neighborhoods in S.F. and is teeming with diversity. This fascinating residential area is home to the Moulin Rouge-style Castro Theatre, GLBT Historical Society Museum, and the Randall Museum. For a relaxing day outdoors, head to Corona Heights Park or Kite Hill. 

2. Twin Peaks

Capture the breathtaking panoramic view of San Francisco and beyond from Twin Peaks.

Twin Peaks, situated near the center of the city, is the perfect place to capture a breathtaking, panoramic view of the Bay Area and beyond. The neighborhood is named for a pair of 922-foot tall summits—which are the second-highest peaks in the city—and features sleek homes, winding streets, a 64-acre hilltop park, and plenty of hiking trails. This trendy destination amongst Airbnb hosts also offers easy access to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. 

3. Alamo Square

Known as the Painted Ladies, these seven Victorian- and Edwardian-style houses are rich in history.

Who wouldn't want to stay in Alamo Square, home to the world-famous Painted Ladies? Also known as "Postcard Row," this line of Victorian- and Edwardian-style homes draws crowds and serves as a Northern California film location. But there's more to love about Alamo Square.

This district is made up of four city blocks atop a hill overlooking much of downtown San Francisco. The neighborhood also has a playground and tennis courts that your guests will love, plus a park with stunning vistas of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. The refined architecture and reasonable prices make Alamo Square the ideal choice for hosting an Airbnb. 

4. Fisherman’s Wharf

One of the busiest areas of the city, Fisherman’s Wharf is the hub of must-see attractions to check off your bucket list.

Nestled in one of the most vibrant and safest parts of the city, Fisherman’s Wharf is where you’ll find San Francisco’s most popular attractions. (Talk about a win-win if you’re thinking of starting your vacation rental business in San Francisco.) S.F.’s most prominent waterfront community is also one of the city's busiest tourist areas. From traditional souvenir shops to upscale eateries, Fisherman’s Wharf has everything visitors need.

Guests will love the psychedelic experience at Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, which is a labyrinth of colorful mirrors and archways. Other top attractions include the Sea Lion Center, the San Francisco Carousel at Pier 39, and the vintage ships and fishing opportunities at Pier 45.

5. Chinatown

Brimming with attractions, San Francisco's Chinatown is one of the biggest Chinatowns in North America.

Chinatown is a must-see place when visiting San Francisco. Starting an Airbnb in Chinatown is a guaranteed success given the district's rich history and cultural significance. The city's Chinatown is one of the biggest Chinatowns in North America and is a top tourist destination.

Your guests should visit the Fortune Cookie Factory to discover more about everyone’s favorite Chinese cookie—it was ironically invented by a Japanese resident of San Francisco. The bustling area is also brimming with remarkable attractions such as the Dragon's Gate, Portsmouth Square, Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral and Chinese Mission, and Tin How Temple (the oldest extant Taoist temple in Chinatown). 

6. Haight-Ashbury District

Explore the iconic birthplace of the hippie movement and admire colorful Victorian houses in the Haight-Ashbury district.

Haight-Ashbury is consistently among the most expensive places to live in San Francisco and near the top of the list of places to have an Airbnb listing—and for good reason. Haight-Ashbury's refined culture, 1960s hippie history, and rows of quirky colorful Victorian houses promise adventure for its residents and guests alike.

 With swanky restaurants and vintage bookstores, the district is quite culturally diverse. Guests can head to the corner of Haight and Ashbury, where thousands of young people gathered for the iconic Summer of Love—a rejection of the comfortable individualistic modern life and a celebration of art, love, and community instead. The revolutionary hippie movement, which began here, transformed San Francisco as well as the youth around the country. 

Grateful Dead fans may also tour the house where the band used to live. One of the many Victorian-style houses of the district, the home provided affordable lodging to thousands of people, who came to the neighborhood to become a part of the movement. The house now pays tribute to the band, who played a huge role in the development of the neighborhood community. 

7. Mission District

Mission Dolores Park is one of the best spots to unwind with your friends, people-watch, or throw a frisbee.

Become an Airbnb host in one of San Francisco’s up-and-coming districts. Fashion-forward boutiques, trendy restaurants, and historically significant murals complete the Mission District vibe. Your guests can try the famous Mission burrito or savor delectable tacos from La Taqueria while staying in this neighborhood. 

Mission Dolores Park is also a great place for visitors to unwind and people-watch on a Sunday morning; it allows them to authentically experience San Francisco in the shortest amount of time. While exploring the area, tourists must visit Clarion Alley—the well-known street covered with bold murals. Hosting an Airbnb rental in this ever-evolving neighborhood will allow visitors to get acquainted with Latino culture and soak in the hip, joyful vibe.

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